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Koulibaly explains Chelsea struggles after £34m transfer & backs himself to silence critics

5:38 AM EDT 10/6/22
Kalidou Koulibaly Chelsea 2022-23
Kalidou Koulibaly has sought to explain why he has struggled to make the desired impact at Chelsea on the back of a £34 million ($38m) transfer.
  • Captain of Senegal national team
  • Made big-money move from Napoli
  • Yet to produce his best in England

WHAT HAPPENED? The Senegal international defender completed a move to Stamford Bridge from Serie A giants Napoli during the summer window and was expected to add more defensive steel to the Blues’ ranks in west London. The 31-year-old has, however, collected as many Premier League red cards – having been dismissed in a 3-0 defeat at Leeds – as he has clean sheets and is still searching for the kind of form that made him one of the most sought-after centre-halves in world football.

WHAT THEY SAID: Assessing his start to life in English football, Koulibaly has told Sky Sport Italia: “I am a player who needs to play regularly, everyone knows that. It is also true that I needed a period of adaptation, I am doing it well, I’m not perfect yet or what I want to be, but I’m getting there.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Koulibaly did help to secure a shut-out in his last appearance, a 3-0 Champions League win over AC Milan, but former Rossoneri and England boss Fabio Capello has said of his performances this season: “At Chelsea he has no personality. When he has the ball at his feet he hesitates. He is not playing quickly, he does not do what he did at Napoli. At Napoli he commanded, he came forward, he made long passes, now he has the ball between his feet, he does not know who to pass it to and he always plays passes to someone only a few metres away. I thought he had a great personality, and for Chelsea he would be really important and explode straight away. And yet, at this moment, this is not him.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR KOULIBALY? Chelsea will be back in Premier League action on Saturday when playing host to Wolves.